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Council scales back revenue target by £3m

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

A total of £3million has been scrapped from a council's ambitious money making target – leaving the authority aiming to make £2m and not £5m.

Shropshire Council's Shirehall base in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Council had planned to make a minimum of £5m of new revenue by March 31 next year.

But the council has now confirmed the target has been significantly scaled back, with ambitions to raise £2m by the end of the financial year instead.

The matter is confirmed in a report to the council's audit committee, which states: "The revision of the target to deliver a minimum of £5m of new revenue income by the 31.03.2020 down to £2m has been considered and shall be included in the revenue budget for 2020/21."

The council has said that the shortfall is due to a number of property investments which have not yet been completed.

Tim Smith, assistant director, commercial services, said: "The reduction in the target for financial year 2020/21 reflects the time required to plan, negotiate, procure and complete projects involving the development of land and buildings which generate revenue income for the council."

He added: "A number of property investment decisions have been approved by the council. We are reliant on terms being agreed with other parties which can take time to negotiate. Income generated from services provided to customers remains strong."

It comes as the authority has also revealed its intention to set aside £40m for an investment fund to try and make more money for the council.

The audit committee adds: "An investment fund of up to £40m has been identified for financial year 2019/20 and 2020/21 to help deliver additional revenue.

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"Several investment proposals and projects have been approved by cabinet and council. The balance of the £40m will be reported and approved in the capital budget strategy in February 2020."

Mr Smith added: "The council will continue to invest within its own economic area in terms of housing, commercial property and buildings where public services can be delivered in local communities and shared with others to reduce cost.

"The council aims to create further opportunity for regeneration and employment growth and also to build houses via its housing company to address unmet housing need in the county. Returns vary based on the level of external funding available to support this.

"The council fully appraises every investment decision to ensure that it covers its costs, including borrowing costs, with the aim being to create durable revenue streams which can be invested back into public services."

The moves are part of the council's attempts to look at new ways of making money, to offset declining grants from central government.

Its most high profile move has been to buy Shrewsbury's shopping centres in a deal worth £50m. It has also set up a housing company which will build and sell homes to raise money.

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